, Corbin, KY


May 27, 2014

The Circus — and Karlyn — are coming

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

According to various stories, some people run away and join the circus.

In a way, Karlyn Sims was one of them.

She’d heard that story before.

Karlyn loved the circus, and saw performances back home in her native Australia.

Her real passion was dancing, which she studied for a decade.

Imagine the heady feeling Karlyn had one day when dancing and the circus all came together, and a jet plane whisked her away from “The Land Down Under” to “America the Beautiful.”

It was the best of both worlds.

She’s touring with Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus — “The Greatest Show on Earth” — and this Tuesday and Wednesday they’ll be in Corbin to present “Super Circus Heroes” at the Corbin Arena.

Showtimes are at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

An interactive “All Access Pre-Show” starts at 6 p.m. both nights, and gives ticket holders a chance to come into the ring and meet all the cast members, go behind the scenes and see the animals that will be in the show.

The pre-show is free to all ticket holders.

Tickets start at $20, with all seats reserved. They’re are available at the Corbin Arena ticket office, at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. You can also order tickets online at, or at

Karlyn hails from a small town called Central Coast, located north of Sydney. With a population of 4.7 million people, Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and it played host to the 2000 Summer Olympics.

For a 19-year-old woman who enjoys traveling, Karlyn’s used to having her bags packed on a moment’s notice. She talked about that during a phone interview from Indiana, Pennsylvania, while “Super Circus Heroes” performed there on May 15-18.

“I’ve been in America before, about 10 years ago when part of my dance school came here to perform at Disneyland. I also worked in India from last March to September in what they call the ‘Bollywood’ movies. It’s massive. The money they put into their skills is spectacular,” she said.

But she never forgot the circus, either. And it wasn’t long before Karlyn truly found her life’s calling.

“It’s a dream for every child to not only see the circus, but to perform in the circus. My grandparents used to take me every summer and holidays to the circus in a small town in Victoria (a state in southeast Australia and home to the country’s second-largest city, Melbourne). My favorite performers were the acrobatic acts and the aerial performers. But I didn’t run away to join the circus. I studied for 10 years in dance school, and had my eyes set on that. Plus, I went to a dance college for a year and studied there. A few months ago I got into Ringling Brothers through my agent, and knew the director in what’s called ‘The Gold Unit.’ They loved my dance reel and they called, had a plane ticket ready and I flew to America. It all happened so quickly. Within a month of finding out, I was stateside,” she pointed out.

The “Gold Unit” produces Super Circus Heroes, the performances that will be seen in Corbin on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Karlyn’s a “sidekick” to the show, which means she and her dance partner Elly Meyers are incorporated throughout the entire performance.

“It’s basically a brand new show everyday. We have new acts, like the Lopez Family, and they ride motorbikes and do the high-wire acts. That’s pretty crazy. From the start of the show to the end, Elly and I help out with the acts, like helping the ponies when they appear. There’s an act where these two guys from Bulgaria (The Twin Titans) hang off the hand balancing act. Elly and I are behind them as their act is going on. It’s amazing to see the strength they have of just relying on one another,” she commented.

Ringmaster David Shipman ties all the elements together for one big family show, filled with fun, thrills and amazement. Along with Karlyn and Elly, the Lopez Family and the Twin Titans, other acts include the Animal Menagerie, the Shaolin Warriors, the Cuban Comets on the teeterboard, the hand-balancing trio The Lightning Rods, “Mr. Boredom” — Davis Vassallo, and Clown Alley.

Karlyn’s especially excited about the “All Access Pre-show Superhero Party, which is held at 6 p.m. — an hour before the actual show.

“It means that if you’re a ticket holder, you get to come into the ring and meet with all the cast members, and you also get to go behind the scenes and see the animals that will be in the show. You can get autographs with all the cast members, including myself, and try on some old costumes and have your picture made with the cast members. The kids love it, and they come down and have such a great time,” she said.

With so many elements to make a performance, there’s more to a circus than meets the eye. As a result, being part of Super Circus Heroes has been an eye-opening experience for Karlyn. And, a quick learning experience in such a short time.

“I’ve never worked with so many people from different cultures. There’s so many working as a team, and it was hard at first because of the language barriers, when you work with people from Russia, Bulgaria, Cuba, China and Mexico. But you learn how to communicate with one another, and you find a way to do so. You also learn things as we go along, such as the different languages. Now, Elly and I are learning how to speak Spanish, and we never thought that would happen in our lifetime. It’s really a global village there, and with all these cultural differences and languages, we truly have a family culture traveling with each other, and we all get along well. It’s been a lot of fun,” she mentioned.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey have a saying about their circus work — “Love what you do for a living and you’ll never work again…”

Through all the work, rehearsing and travel, there’s something magic about being in the circus.

Karlyn knows that.

A simple smile from a child, or their family, or their grandparents before, during or after the show speaks volumes to her.

“Does it get tiring to do all that travel? Not at all, actually. I thought I’d be tired at first, but there’s not a day that comes by that you always appreciate what you do. That’s because I’m doing something I truly love to do. To entertain and make people happy. That’s my job,” she said.

Karlyn added she’d love for you to see the circus on Tuesday, or Wednesday.

And while she’s in town, there’s a place she’d like to see. When Karlyn and the crew have some downtime.

“I’ve never been to Corbin, and I like to explore new places and see new things when I travel. I’ve heard about some waterfalls there, a smaller version of Niagara Falls. And something about a ‘Moonbow’ there. I’d like to see Cumberland Falls,” she stated.

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